Tag Archives: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

20 Revision Strategies: Make Writing Better

“For me, writing is never linear, though I do believe quite ardently in revision. I think of revision as a kind of archeology, a deep exploration of the text to discover what’s still hidden and bring it to the surface.”

~Kim Edwards

Revision is about going back to your writing to make it better. I was recently going through some old papers from my graduate school days and came across my notes from The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project specifically on revision. Below is a bulleted list of revision strategies compiled to help students dress up their writing to make it stronger and more clear.

  • Add more – look at your writing piece and name two things you can do to make it better.
  • Reread to see if it makes sense – is it clear? How can you make it sound better?
  • What’s the most important thing you want to tell your read about your topic?
  • Write the external and internal story (what you think, wonder, and feel).
  • Observe and reflect.
  • Use your senses.
  • Talk to a friend or writing partner about your piece and then write. Think aloud.
  • Storytell it and then write.
  • Focus in on something small connected to your topic.
  • Zoom in on a moment.
  • Underline an important line and say more about it.
  • Sketch then write.
  • Try starting your piece by writing the lead differently.
  • Play with the form or genre – turn into a letter, a poem, a song.
  • Find a book you really like and see if you can write like that. Model an author you admire.
  • Ask, “What have I left out?”
  • Take a sentence and turn it into a page (lift a line or word).
  • Try starting the piece in a different place, chronologically.
  • Write endings several different ways. Ask, “What do I want my ending to do?”
  • Reread asking, “Is this really what I have to say? What’s the most important thing I want my readers to know?”


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The Power of the Read Aloud

Reading aloud should not end in elementary school.  In fact, reading aloud has many benefits.  In a guest blog post for the Nerdy Book Club titled, How to turn your classroom into a hotbed of enthusiastic readers, Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller wrote:

“Read aloud EVERY DAY.  It builds a reading community (and vocabulary, fluency, and a sense of story) and provides touchstone texts.  Reading aloud creates a bonding experience and time to be together in another world.  It provides numerous opportunities to model good writing and teach reading strategies.   And it’s fun!”

Read alouds enable the teacher to stop and talk to students about the process and ideas about reading. During the read aloud, a teacher reads aloud to students in order to model and demonstrate strategies that characterize proficient reading.  The read aloud is also a time when students receive instruction that helps them talk well about books.  Thus, in addition to modeling the work of proficient, fluent, and engaged readers during the read aloud time, the teacher also teaches students how to have accountable conversations about books.

Here is some examples of dialogue a teacher can use to help model for students active reading and support students’ understanding of the text.

“Be ready to listen, think, and write.”

“Can you picture that.”

“Add that to your picture.”

“Think about how that would feel.”

“Think about how you would feel in that situation.”

“Turn and talk to the person next to you about . . . ”

“Stop and jot in your reading journal what this character is thinking.”

“Why do you think . . .”

“What is going on there?”

“Do you know why . . .”

“Stop and write what you are thinking now.”

“As we move forward, one thing I want you to take notice is . . .”

“As we get to the next page, think about . . .”

“What is this book really about?” — Turn and talk to the person next to you.

“Catch up with a partner what happened in the story and share two new things you learned about . . .”

When teachers are reading aloud we want students to pay attention to the words, make connections, visualize, infer what the author is not saying, ask questions, make predictions, build vocabulary, and draw conclusions.  Reading aloud help model for our students these reading habits so they can apply them when they are reading independently.

A few of my favorite read aloud books:

Social Studies Themes –

Social Studies based Read Alouds

Social Studies based Read Alouds

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman

21 Elephants by Phil Bildner

Childtimes by Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little

The Bat Boy & His Violin by Gavin Curtis

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell




The Love of Words & Books –

Books that promote the love of reading and words

Books that promote the love of reading and words

The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Sparkle and Spin by Ann & Paul Rand

Exploding Ants by Joanne Settel

Books Speak! by Laura Purdie Salas

Wonderful Words edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

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